Crossing the Rubicon
Vol: 58 Issue: 17 Monday, July 17, 2006
Since the start of offensive operations against Hezbollah, more than 700 missiles have been fired into Israel. Rockets fell in Safed, Kiryat Shmona, Karmiel, Nahariya and other cities throughout the North.
On Friday, an Iranian radar-guided missile fired by Hezbollah destroyed an Israeli naval missile ship off the Lebanese coast, killing all four Israeli sailors aboard. Hezbollah has also been firing rockets from areas close to the Golan Heights, hoping to draw an Israeli response on Syrian territory and thereby draw Damascus into the conflict.
The Rubicon (Rubico, in Italian Rubicone) is an ancient Latin name for a small river in northern Italy. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has survived to refer to any person committing himself irrevocably to a risky course of action, another way of saying passing the point of no return.
Hezbollah ‘crossed the Rubicon’ when it fired its first long-range missile into Haifa. The missile was an Iranian Fajar-3 medium-range ballistic missile of Syrian manufacture. Iran announced its first successful test of the missile in April, saying it was the most advanced missile in its arsenal, was invisible to radar and could hold multiple warheads that could attack several targets at the same time.
The Fajar-3 has a range of more than thirty miles, putting huge Israeli population centers at risk in the center of the country. It can carry a 200-lb warhead, making it much more deadly than the 30lb Katyusha rockets that have been raining down on Israel for months.
International intelligence estimates are that Hezbollah has an arsenal of between 10,000 and 13,000 missiles, including some with a range of nearly sixty miles that could potentially hit Tel Aviv.
To understand the psychological red line the Haifa attack represents to Israelis, imagine if Mexican drug lords started lobbing mortars over to the sparsely-inhabited Texas side of the border. The reaction from the US side would be measured to meet the threat. We’d go after the drug lords responsible.
Now, suppose other Mexican drug lords started lobbing missiles into downtown Dallas, Houston and Austin. Washington would have no choice but to try and wipe out the Mexican drug cartel in its entirety or face escalating destruction of its cities.
With missiles raining down on Dallas, do you think Washington would hesitate about invading Mexico to stop it? Now, what if Venezuela were supplying the Mexican drug lords with long-range missiles, which were being transferred through Mexico City while the Mexican government looked the other way?
It is unlikely the US would heed calls from Israel to ‘exercise restraint’ — even if Israel did acknowledge America’s right to defend itself.
Both Hamas and Hezbollah say the conflict could be over in an instant. All Israel has to do is agree to a prisoner exchange; the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the terrorist groups for a little over a thousand Palestinian criminals serving time in Israeli jails. And Israel has been under global pressure to do so.
Israel itself set the precedent in 1985 when Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin traded 1150 prisoners for three Israeli soldiers held in Lebanon. (Among those released in that swap was Hamas’ founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. And 800 of the 1150 released prisoners eventually resumed the battle with Israel.)
While such a trade might sound a bit lopsided to Western ears, the demand is a testimony to Arab respect for the value Israel puts on human life. It also provides an opportunity to clearly see the contrast between the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the god of Mohammed. Islam claims the Koran is the is the ‘third testament’ and that Allah is the same god as the God of the Christians and Jews.
Because the jihadists have no respect for human life, whether their own or that of their enemy, Israeli values are alos Israel’s biggest vulnerability. Israel shares this same vulnerability with the United States, Australia and other Christian nations. Islam exploits it.
God is not schizophrenic.
Although the world portrays Israel as a brutal occupier with no respect for human life, the Israeli offensive is targeted at the terrorists. Israel’s respect for life prompted it to warn Lebanese civilians by dropping leaflets before attacking, even though warning the civilians meant warning Hezbollah as well.
As I am writing this, two more rockets fired by Hezbollah from Lebanon landed in the Israeli port city of Haifa. Hezbollah isn’t aiming at military targets. The rockets come without warning, and fall indiscriminately on soldier and kindergarten student alike. A direct hit on an Israeli preschool would cause as much celebration among the jihadists as a direct hit on an Israeli military installation.
The goal is to kill anybody and everybody possible without distinction — in the name of their god.
The prophet Ezekiel addressed them specifically, saying, “Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.” (Ezekiel 35:5-6)
In this incredible prophecy, Ezekiel, under the inspiration of God, even addressed the ‘two state solution’ issue; “Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:” (35:10)
Now that Israel has ‘crossed the Rubicon’ to meet them, there is no turning back for either Hezbollah or Hamas.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 35:14-15)